“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; he has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison door to those who are bound.” – Isaiah 61:1
Once we have opened our hearts to the injustice of modern sex slavery, there is only one response: action. As long as one person remains in slavery, we are committed to fight it. We refuse to turn a blind eye to this injustice.
Along with prayer, awareness and giving, REFORM is an important part of abolition work.
Where prostitution is legal, trafficking flourishes. Traffickers will always seek to supply a demand for sex where it exists. However, even where the solicitation of sex is illegal, often the purchase of sex isn’t criminalized. This loophole perpetuates trafficking activity. As long as there are buyers willing to pay for sex, there will be sex traffickers willing to enslave. For sex slavery to be abolished, the purchase of sex must come to an end.
The Swedish Model
Sweden has enacted progressive legislation that criminalizes sex buyers and protects the women victimized by prostitution. Since the initial passing in 1999 and subsequent additions, Sweden’s sex crime laws have caused a significant decrease in trafficking activity in the country. In fact, Sweden now has the lowest number of trafficking victims in the entire European Union.1 In addition, Sweden’s legislation has seen prostitution cut by more than 45%, and less than 8% of its active adult male population buys sex, compared to 13.6% before the law was enacted.
Fewer women are being enslaved and exploited in Sweden, as their society begins to view women differently.
The primary underlying principles behind Sweden’s legislation are threefold. First, the Swedish law stands upon the belief that prostitution is a serious barrier to equality and that “any society claiming to defend principles of equality must reject the idea that women and girls are commodities that can be bought, sold, and sexually exploited by men.”2, 3 The foundation of the Swedish model is a political vision of a nation in which all women and girls are able to live without any forms of violence being committed against them.4
The second principle behind the law is that women and children in prostitution are victims and should not be criminalized but instead should be offered assistance and social services. It is the perpetrators of the crime who should be criminalized and sentenced to harsh penalties, rather than the prostituted women and children. T
Thirdly, Sweden and its representatives agree to oppose any measures to legalize or decriminalize the prostitution industry internationally.
Sweden’s aggressive approach has created both a normative change in the population’s attitudes toward the purchase of sex and an important trade barrier between pimps, traffickers, and johns. The powerful combination of changing attitudes toward prostitution alongside creating a “bad market” for johns and traffickers alike has been extremely successful.
Below is a brief summary of the law:
Sex buyers: Any individual who obtains casual sexual relations in exchange for payment shall be sentenced to a fine or imprisonment for up to six months.
Pimps: Any individual who, for financial gain, exploits another through the performance of sexual services shall be convicted of procurement and sentenced to up to four years in prison.
Traffickers: Any individual who, with the use of force or deception, or with the exploitation of someone’s vulnerable situation, or with other improper means, recruits, transports, shelters, accepts, or takes any such action and thereby gains control of a person (known as the element of control) for the purpose of exploiting that person for casual sexual relations or, in any other way, exploits that person for sexual purposes shall be convicted of human trafﬁcking and sentenced to prison for a minimum of two years and a maximum of ten. If the victim is under 18 years of age, no coercion needs to have taken place for a sentence to be imposed.5
In order to effectively combat human trafficking worldwide, lawmakers must attack the demand side of prostitution through the adoption of Sweden’s legislative approach, gleaning from its remarkable effect. Contact your lawmakers today with information.
2 Abolishing Prostitution: The Swedish Solution An Interview with Gunilla Ekberg by the Rain and Thunder Collective.
3 Research shows that although both males and females are exploited in prostitution and sex trafficking, the vast majority of those victimized are females.
4 Abolishing Prostitution: The Swedish Solution An Interview with Gunilla Ekberg by the Rain and Thunder Collective
5 Targeting The Sex Buyer –– The Swedish Example http://exoduscry.com/site/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/swedish_model.pdf